A second robolutionary group has its Empire nationalized and a Minister’s brother (Arne Chacon) is arrrested

December 5, 2009

(Not a great picture of Arne Chacon with one of his horses, Il Divo, when it won an important race)

Over four years ago, in a post called “Onward the pretty robolution” I reported on the meteoric rise of Arne Chacon, the brother of the omni-Minister Jesse Chacon in the financial world. My questions were simple, how could a lowly employee of SENIAT the tax office, who had no known employment before 2002, according to Venezuela’s social security administration, all of a sudden own a large stake in bank Baninvest and offer US$ 10 million for milk producer Indulac? (sadly Poleo’s post with a copy of his offer is no loner online)

Chacon’s rise continued, even if the Superintendent of Banks said he would look in 2006 into the origin of the funds in 2006, nothing was really done. While Arne grew his Empire, his brother went from Ministry to Minister, including twice the Ministry of Justice.

I then wrote a post about my research into Arne’s social security record, showing that he had never paid social security taxes between 1995 and 1997 and then again between 1999 and 2001, and again between 2003 and 2005 and magically in 2006 he was paying way more than me. This was the first post I ever removed from blog as a friend I respect quite a bit suggested I was getting into dangerous territory and my personal safety was at stake.  Fortunately the folks at infovenezuela.org were nice to publish it anonymously after I removed it from my blog.

Arne’s rise continued as he and Pedro Torres purchased Banco Real, Central Banco Universal, Helm Bank (they kept the deposits and cerdits and resold the license), Seguros La Previsora and Mi Banco. By then he was even coming out in public boasting that obviously his relation to the Government attracted deposits to his banks. He never explained how he purchased the banks. He reportedly owned close to 15% of the race horses at the Caracas racetrack.

And then the Government shuts down Fernandez Barruecos’ banks and yesterday Arne’s and Pedro Torres’ empire was taken over by the Government. Nationalized.

Today, he was arrested.

Why did it take so long? Why was it allowed to happen? Why the change of tune? I will write about that later, but clearly there was complacency, collaboration and ineffectiveness on the part of the regulators.

Chavez will once again play the “Yo no fui” (Who me?) role, blame the oligarchy, the wealthy and the opposition. But if there is someone to blame, it was Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, this corruption by the brother of his omni-Minister, Jesse Chacon, was denounced repeatedly and nothing was done for at least four years.

Yeap, robolution indeed, the name is today more true than ever!

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39 Responses to “A second robolutionary group has its Empire nationalized and a Minister’s brother (Arne Chacon) is arrrested”


  1. […] reported yesterday, that the Chavez regime had taken over a group of banks belonging to Pedro Torres Ciliberto and […]

  2. moctavio Says:

    Bono:

    First, I have a track record, as I say in the rules in seven long years I have only banned one person and have not banned Arturo and become Dictator.

    However, I have written emails (Isabel and another person) to those that have used words and insults against Arturo, and have asked them not to do it. They have both apologized and said they would nt do it again.

    Funny thing is that I could not write to him, because he writes in a fake email, in contrast to most others. But I have chosen to ignore this.

    But I do find it off topic to compare the subprime crisis to this corruption case (s).

    And I do find the fact that Arturo has been writing comments longer than my posts to be inappropriate, particularly when it is all propaganda, His only argument is that Chavez is great. Let’s see:

    He first told us that Fernandez Barrueco is innocent until proven guilty. That is correct, but it has nothing to do with the fact that we all suspected he was a crook and was detained, I had been saying he was a crook for years based on evidence , old and new, which he has fought all the time. Never getting to the argument of whether it is valid or not and trying to discredit my blog. But when Chavez says Fernandez is a crook , Arturo says nothing. Why? because Chavez is always right. I have not heard Arturo criticize, for example, that Chavez has taken over other properties of Fernandez Barruecos, which have nothing to do with banks. I dont understand how Chavez can do this, even if I think Fernandez is a crook. But such is the double standard of the pro-Chavez fanatics.

    Second, Arturo said that there was no evidence, when I mentioned financials, he asked if they were available, which showed he has no clue about financials, but he tried to discredit my argument about the magnitude of the structured notes, for which you HAD to read the financials.

    Third. I wrote a post about Dubai, Greece and Venezuela and he questioned that I never “compared” the size of Venezuela’s debt to its GDP. But it just so happens that I did, except Veneuela does not have a single measure of GDP (official rate or swap rate?) but I said that Venezuela’s debt was “comfortable” compared to what I said for the other two countries, In fact I own some PDVSA debt. He had not right to question the post if he had read, I questioned that he had not, he never replied.

    Third, he said the Disip draft was “inadmissible” in a very lawyerly post, which a real lawyer debunked saying he had no clue what he was taking about. He admitted it.

    Then, I wrote a post explaining that Chacon (arne) had been questioned since he first surfaced for his sudden wealth. He questioned what Chacon was being accused of. It was obvious from the post and the links that this was the case. In fact, Chavez made exactly the same accusation, saying Arne Chacon was a “pata en el suelo” and now was a millionare. (In fact, Chacon spent 500 billion dollars in banks and insurance companies this year alone, so he is likely a billionare, not a millionare). So, either Arturo did not read the post or just wanted to show off or interfere with the comments.

    So, bono, there is a pattern here. I try to respect my readers as long as they respect me. I repeat I have not banned Arturo, but after his pattern of behavior where he asks and I reply, but he never answers, I did challenge him to answer a few questions which he never did. That is not arguing that is fanatic pontificating. I will thus ignore him, if I try to answer him, he shoudl ahve the respect o answer me. He did not.

    I try in this blog to stick to facts, when they are not, I say it. When someone questions those facts with fanatic blabber, I have no reason to accept it. I have asked Arturo to please read my posts and be specific. He hasn’t been. That shows he has no respect for me and is here only to harrass.

    If Arturo were to continue this behavior I might ban him one day, but as I say in the Code of Behavior, having banned one person (who became unbearable) is one person too many.

    This is not the first time that someone has written multiple comments in my blog which say little diluting the discussion. In fact, some have been anti-Chavez. If someone wants to use my blog to promote what they think in that way, I will warn them that I do not accept it, if you have something so prolific and extensive to say, start a blog, but don’t take advantage of mine.

    And please, show some respect for the work I ahve done in the last seven years, in which my readers have asked to ban many people, many times, and I have refused.

    I am no Dictator, nor do I have any of the qualities that make them so. And I take offense at the word being used against me.

  3. Kepler Says:

    Bono, what a drag.
    Miguel has presented the arguments. You say Arturo “is right”, period.
    Don’t troll. Why don’t you create your own blog and show what democracy is?

  4. hasta la vista, baby Says:

    I will gracefully withdraw …

    This pearl is worth a chuckle or two.

    Over these long eleven years I have never, ever seen a Chavista do *anything* with grace.

  5. bono Says:

    what arturo said is not off topic, he is rigth, (not thar HChF is god!) but why callapiarlo because of what he has said. He has is own believe! but we are in a free country, free thinking, free of spech, or Miguel, are you a dictator??

  6. Isabel Says:

    Arturo, your almighty leader answers your question of what Arne was being accused of:

    “El Presidente se ha mostrado extrañado por la enorme fortuna que logró amasar Arné Chacón y ha señalado que hace unos años era un “pata en el suelo”.”

    There you have it, he was a pata en el suelo and now he is(was) a billionare, get it?

  7. Alek Boyd Says:

    This is what I wrote about this Miguel:

    However I don’t think anyone should take solace from these news, for Chavez can’t do without the thugs that prop him up through politicking and money laundering, unless they are replaced by other ones. He is after all just one man. This, in my opinion, is mere posturing, an intermezzo, a show. There are crucial elections next year, the outcome of which could mean that Chavez will have to throw away the remaining democratic leaf, if he is to remain in power. These acts are mere props to make his ignorant followers believe that he’s tough, as Tony Blair would say, on crime and the causes of crime. This is, as a matter of fact, nothing but posturing, self preservation, Chavez at his histrionic best.

  8. moctavio Says:

    They are tiny, they were mentioned by Ramos Allup as being related to the insurance corruption, but I really know little about it or them.

  9. george Says:

    whay havent we heard anything about banvalor? where do they rank within the three levels of banks?

  10. bruni Says:

    I wonder why now and I wonder also why Chacón stepped down. IMHO Chávez is removing those that can be a shadow…IMHO next will be Godgiven.

  11. moctavio Says:

    Hard to tell, are they going by size? Since we dont know why they started, we cant tell how far they will really go. Remember, not one person in Government has been charged.

    On another topic Jesse Chacon has just resigned, sacrificing himself. The big question is, if Adan were to be found to be involved, would Chavez resign?

  12. Isabel Says:

    Miguel: As far as I can tell, there are two groups left: Gonzalo Tirado’s and Jose Zambrano’s. They have used the same techniques to buy banks, why do you think nothing has been done against them?

  13. moctavio Says:

    Here are the rules from the old blog:

    1. Stay On Topic

    – The topic of a blog entry should be the topic for most comments pertaining to it. Beware of conversational drift. If your comment is longer than the post, maybe you should rewrite it.

    – No meta-discussion. Meta-discussion is conversation about the conversation: about another person’s commenting style, about the blog rules, about the blogger’s decisions, etc. Any issues with the blog raeders or its blogger should be addressed privately to the owner.

    – No repeat posts. Double posts, or repetitive posting of the same points over and over, will not help your argument. We heard you the first time. If you think you have a lot to say, but are not getting enough room to say it, start a blog and tell us once about it, but that is about it.

    -This is a blog mostly about information on/about/for Venezuela and what is happening in our country. It is a terrible world out there, but for discussions about how much you love/hate Bush, love/hate Bin Laden, love/hate Lula, love/hate Michael Jackson and/or love/hate the war in Iraq, there are plenty of blogs devoted to those topics. Visit them. These people/situations are only relevant if there is a direct connection between them and Venezuela.

    2. Do Not Abuse, Harass, or Defame

    – No personal attacks. Insulting, attacking, or denigrating another reader are ad-hominem attacks, which weaken debate and are not allowed under any circumstances.

    – No baiting or gloating. Repeated taunting, sexual come-ons, or competitive posts toward another user constitute harassment and will get you banned. The object is intelligent discourse, not scoring points.

    – No defamatory speech. Denigration of or threats against any group of people due to their race, religion, nationality, gender, politics or sexual orientation will not be tolerated.

    3. Don’t be anonymous

    When you write in your e-mail in the comments, only your blogger sees it. Please use your real e-mail, I may want to contact you, ask you about a comment and otherwise know who you are. I will not reveal your e-mail to anyone. If you can’t trust me with your e-mail, why should I give credence to what you say in your comment?

    -Violations of any of these rules will result in removal of the offending comment(s). Repeat offenders will be banned from the blog.

    -These rules may be modified whenever the owner of the blog feels like it. Only one person has ever been banned from this blog. That is one too many.

    -Suggestions for changes, additions and improvements to these rules should be sent to me privately, via the envelope below.

  14. moctavio Says:

    No Arturo, this is my personal blog, you are writing comments with zero content that are longer than the posts, you want an audience that you could not get if you wrote your own blog.

    In your last comment you asked a question that PROVED you did not even bother to read the post, there is nothing to discuss with you. Your other point of view is that you think Chavez is great but you have failed to go beyond the act of faith that you have that he is great. He is, according to you, not accountable or responsible, for anything. The very fact that what this blog has been saying for years became true and the people are being jailed by your idol Chavez, seems to mean nothing to you. You are more Chavista than Chavez! He says they are thieves, you still defend them. They steal, you defend, you dont read the blog and dont look at the evidence that has nothing to with anything you say in your last comment, which I really hope is the last. And please comments on the topic not off topic, if not, go start your own blog, where you can tell the world why you are so irrationally pro-Chavez.

  15. Arturo Says:

    Since it appears that Octavio and other bloggers resent a different point of view and are threatening with banning me from commenting, I will gracefully withdraw from commenting any more.

    I am a “fanatic”, a “troll” and geha714 wants me banned immediately. Complete lack of toleranceon both your parts.

  16. moctavio Says:

    I dont think there is any reason to intervene Banesco, there are others, but not Banesco.

  17. moses Says:

    Article 309 of Ley de Bancos: You are covered up to 10.000 Bsf per user per bank. Monday is feriado bancario, many things can happen . If Banesco is intervened, it can become a real mess….

    Artículo 309. El Fondo de Garantía de Depósitos y Protección Bancaria garantizará los depósitos del público en moneda nacional, hasta por un monto de diez millones de bolívares (Bs. 10.000.000,00) por depositante en un mismo grupo financiero, cualesquiera que sean los tipos de depósitos que su titular mantenga.

    El Consejo Superior a solicitud del Directorio del Fondo de Garantía de Depósitos y Protección Bancaria y previa opinión del Directorio del Banco Central de Venezuela, la cual será vinculante, podrá aumentar el monto de la garantía, a los fines de mantenerla cónsona con la realidad económica del país, cuando las variables macroeconómicas así lo requieran.

    Los depósitos del público amparados por la garantía a que se refiere el presente artículo, serán aquellos realizados en moneda nacional en los bancos, entidades de ahorro y préstamo y demás instituciones financieras domiciliadas en la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, que adopten la forma de depósitos a la vista, de ahorro, a plazo fijo, certificados de ahorro, certificados de depósito a plazo y bonos quirografarios, todos ellos nominativos; así como, las inversiones nominativas del público en los fondos del mercado monetario, y aquellos otros instrumentos financieros nominativos de naturaleza similar a los enumerados en este artículo, que califique a estos fines el Consejo Superior, previa opinión del Directorio del Banco Central de Venezuela, la cual será vinculante.

  18. firepigette Says:

    Davi,

    “I have never heard of billionaires turning themselves in,in a country with no real law”

    Very interesting comment.

  19. geha714 Says:

    Let’s call Arturo for what it is: TROLL!

    Miguel, the sooner you act, the better.

  20. moctavio Says:

    I have no idea, but he clearly does not want to discuss anything and does not even bother redaing the blog, so he is violating the rules of the blog and will soon be banned if he continues.

  21. Kepler Says:

    Miguel, is Arturo the same person who was bugging last time with another nickname? It is always one at a time.

  22. moctavio Says:

    Arturo I am getting tired, READ THE BLOG, you seem to come only to be a pain in the butt, I gave links, did you even bother to read them. Did you read this post? It does not seem so. I know you are a fanatic, nothing is his fault. Nothing works, but nothing is his fault. Sure.

  23. Arturo Says:

    Octavio – interesting that you say that Arné was being denounced since 2005. But for what? The answer “corruption” is not good enough. What illegal acts did he commit?

    Let’s not forget that such investigations take time. Remember WorldCom and Enron? There were shenanagins going on at these companies (hiding losses, for example) for years before the shit hit the fan.

    How long was the sub-prime building up in the US – since 1996 when these sort ofmortgages started. So the argument that the authorities “knew” and did nothing does not hold water. My God, if every rumor was acted on in Venezuela there would not be enough people to investigate or even arrest people.

    I’m willing to bet that Chávez comes out of this strengthened and in good shape for the 2010 and 2012 elections. Anyone care to disagree?

    And, yes, Cháves IS great! 😉

  24. pedro Says:

    This blog is really good, you are contributing a lot to spread the truth about Venezuela. Thanks!

  25. moctavio Says:

    Chavez is Great, Chavez is good, let us thank him for our food.

  26. floridiano Says:

    Miguel, you should dig a little on this story:
    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/fl-rothstein-daily-lawsuit-20091110,0,2788326.story
    A couple of boliburgueses Ricardo Martinez and Camilo Manrique just lost $1.4 millions on one of the biggest ponzi schemes in South Florida.

  27. karl Says:

    Chavez had no choice on this one, so he had to find some lower level culprits.
    I remember hearing years ago the following from my grandfather ” la propensidad de un chivo en convertirse en chivo expiatorio es directamente proporcional al tamano del chivo”
    To me this are still expendable chivos that could help Chavez sell an image that he is fighting corruption. The real question is how this affects the economy, M2 and inflation.

  28. Arturo Says:

    Even I am pleased that such people as Arné Chacón are bing accused/investigated. However, going back to the “todo es culpa de Chávez” is unrealistic not to say naive.

    You will se that the government will be congratulated for jailing the corrupt bankers and putting the financial system back in order.

    Diosdado could fall – look how Chávez has been treating him recently during Aló Presidente.

    The only way to save the revolution is to clean it out and we are now in the early phases of this necessary task.

    I know, I know….they are all guilty until proven innocent…correct?

  29. Roberto Says:

    I agree, Tocayo. Full marks.

  30. Kepler Says:

    I am afraid Davi may be on the right track

  31. framethedebate Says:

    A few will be thrown out of the closet, but the door will not be completely opened for all to see. Exposing all the corruption would require going into family matters. Adan is not likely to be marched out even for votes.

  32. Robert Says:

    Chavez is simply knocking down a power structure that has amassed enough wealth to threaten him and at the same time making the most of it and nationalizing what ever trash is left behind. He does this periodically and no one should be surprised. Last time it wasn’t rich bankers, it was Baduel. He will reach his Cubazuela little by little and he will have the masses thanking him in the process.

  33. davi Says:

    Just another chess play by Hugo.Very clever for 2010.
    I have never heard of billionaires turning themselves in,in a country with no real law

  34. gustavo coronel Says:

    These people had been systematically denounced since 2005 by El Nuevo Pais (Patricia Poleo), your blog, Jose Guerra, Kenneth Rijock, Descifrado. In November 2006 (CATO paper) I summarized the case of Arne Chacon and mentioned other bankers who, so far, have escaped attention this time around (I don’t know why). The regime cannot claim it did not know.
    And what about the ministers of finance and intermediaries who enriched themselves with the Argentinean and other commercial papers? That can of worms is yet to be fully opened. I think is time to do it. I am willing to do my part.

  35. USA exiliado Says:

    I believe that there is something much deeper than just finally realizing that the banks were not viable. It has to be more sinister than infighting between boliburggueses. My guess is that this is the first step of nationalizing the banking sector, and getting us one step closer to sea of happiness that has been promised for so long

  36. GWEH Says:

    Kepler, many things are surfacing now and more to come. I want to see Luis Correa go down (concunado de Jesse Chacon). Luis moves around powerful positions like ONA drug agency chief or Disiop electronic intel boss. He has a direct hand in jets with drugs. He’s a big revolutionary turd.

  37. Gringo Says:

    How many wealthy Boliburgueses have recently left/fled the country? How many will do so in the next month? Christmas vacation at Aruba, then fly far away.. I wonder if that plane that crashed in Mali also had some cash that was not reported. Will Godgiven Hair flee the country? Ditto the other Chacon?

    It will be interesting to see how much media coverage all this gets. Will Chavez go after the compliant non-government media, in order to suck up some cash?

    What a novel this will make. Or telenovela. Just like Tomas Eloy Martinez did with the Perons.

    There have been basically three pillars of Chavismo: 1) The ideologues. 2) The less well off who got jobs and support services. 3) The Boliburgueses, who made off like bandits. While the third pillar does not constitute a lot of people, it constitutes a fair amount of money and thus of power. Now they see that no one is safe, what will they do, other than make arrangements to get body and booty out of the country?

    Interesting times.

  38. Kepler Says:

    Miguel, thanks for having written about it so long ago.

    Now, my questions are now rather: why did they do it at all now?
    Do they need money that badly already OR rather did they realise that now even the street vendors knew about Arné?
    (my impression was lately that even sites of chavistas were talking about Arné, so it must be this)


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